Thursday, January 19, 2006

What a week we weave, when we practice to ... something

My car is making a weird noise, so I'll have to take it into the shop or wait until it falls apart while I drive down the road.

On the other hand, some interesting things have happened this week. I was asked to contribute an article to an upcoming book. It seems like an interesting opportunity so I'll be glad to get that done. And I'll do some horn-tooting here when I hear the book is published (sorry -- it's not Tolkien-related).

And I was invited to join the blogging team at SeoMoz. SeoMoz is a search engine optimization resource that was recently featured in Newsweek. There are several outstanding features about the site, including its "Beginners Guide to Search Engine Optimization" (one of the very best tutorials I've ever read on the subject) and its "Search Engine Ranking Factors" document. SeoMoz is well worth a visit for those two articles alone, but there are many other cool things happening at SeoMoz.

Rand Fishkin is a neat guy, if only because his name lends itself to pulp fiction spoofs ("My name is Rand. Rand Fishkin. I plug web sites for a living, but that didn't stop her from walking in my door one fateful night while I was making a baloney sandwich..."). He's familiar with my posting in various SEO forums, and we've exchanged emails a few times. Rand takes criticism very well and keeps an open mind. That doesn't mean he agrees with everything I say, which is as it should be.

So, when he invited me to join the blogging team, I told him I wouldn't dream of passing up the opportunity to play Bad Cop to his Good Cop.

And I closed my largest deal at work so far. I don't tell people what I do for a living these days because I left the IT field a little over a year ago (well, actually, technically, almost two years ago). I'm waiting to see if I can build a successful career in this industry before I make a big fuss over it, but I'm now a licensed insurance agent, selling commercial property and casualty coverages (buildings, general liability, strange liability, etc.). The stories I could tell about this industry are pretty amazing, and kind of scary. But since I don't want to be listed as the next candidate for jail on the Texas Department of Insurance's Web site, I think I'll keep the stories to myself for now.

Although Texas did just implement a new law that requires licensed agents to report any probable fraudulent situations they encounter. The incentive to turn in a competitor who may be doing something illegal is pretty strong: we break the law if we don't report our suspicions. Hopefully, someone with a clear head and a lot of experience in insurance matters will conduct a fair investigation. After all, it could be me who gets investigated, so what goes around comes around.

And Matt Tinaglia won a little contest I ran on the Endor discussion group. Matt, for those of you who don't recognize his name, edited the Parma Endorion eBook and Understanding Middle-earth. Sorting through a pile of Michael Martinez essays is not easy, even if you enjoy reading them. Matt had to make some hard choices, and then he had to persuade me to accept them. Some people would tell you I ain't so easy to persuade.

So, I decided to see how difficult it would be for people to find this blog before I started promoting it openly. It was more difficult than I imagined, but after I posted a second group of clues, Matt jumped in and found the blog. He picked what I feel is the most interesting prize I offered: a feature article about him on Xenite.Org. I'll toot that horn when the article is finished and ready to be posted.

I've been updating pages on Xenite this week as well. It's boring, tedious work but it has to be done. In fact, there is always something that needs to be tweaked, fixed, or updated at Xenite. I sometimes wish I had used a content management system to build the domain, but then I look at CMS-driven sites and though they seem pretty they lack character. I mean, they have character, but their sub-sections don't often stand out in unique ways.

Xenite came into being after I'd already created four sites. I just thought it would be cool to have a domain to host all the Web sites I was making. It never even occured to me to promote the domain itself as a content resource until Tom Simpson (of wrote to me to compliment my Xena sites. He added a quick , "BTW, you may want to create an index page for the domain." Oops.

So, you can all thank Tom Simpson for inspiring the megasite that Xenite.Org is today. His blog is located at and some day I'll figure out how to embed links with actual anchor text (but don't anyone tell me, because I'd rather not turn this into a megablog - you have no idea of how dangerous a little technical know-how is in my hands).

Finally, I need to start working up a publicity campaign for the Inklings Rountable of Houston's March dinner. We're going to celebrate the 50th anniversary (give or take a few months) of the BBC's first radio adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. That was the Terence Tiller adaptation, not the one you can buy on cassette tape or CD.

Why are we celebrating this anniversary? Jane Chance asked me the same question. I gave her a Tom Bombadillian (or more likely Goldberryin) answer: "Because".

"Because" is all we need to celebrate a 50th Tolkien anniversary. After all, it will be another 50 years before we can celebrate the 100th anniverary so we might as well get the partyin' in now.


Post a Comment

<< Home